'Jaatishwar' has the potential to change perspectives: An Insight
t would be ridiculous to confuse Jesse Eisenberg with Mark Zuckerberg, neither do we think of Ben Kigsley when we talk about Mahatma Gandhi, or for that matter, confuse Ajay Devgan with Bhagat Singh!
But, with every mention of Anthony Firingee, the face that floats into every Bong’s mind is that of mahanayak Uttam Kumar (although Biswajit Chatterjee also played the historic character in ‘Bhola Moira’). The sobriquet ‘Firingee’ became so popular in deference to his Portuguese origins that Hensman Anthony became a forgotten name, along with the superimposed image of Uttam Kumar, which is only unfair to a historic legend like Anthony.
This is where director Srijit Mukherjee had a great role to play with his film ‘Jaatiswar’, casting Prosenjit Chatterjee in the persona of ‘Anthony Firingee’ to break the monopoly of the typecast.
An accomplished student from JNU, Srijit Mukherjee has always been a class apart who puts in a lot of thought and research behind his work. Nagorik Kobial Kabir Suman reminded us how it was the director himself who cogitated on the context to select all the thirteen Kavigaan in the film with only subtle inputs and suggestion from the big man.
A ‘musical’ in the every sense of the word, ‘Jaatiswar’ pays a tribute to the entire music fraternity as it carefully captures the evolution of Bangla gaan over the last couple of centuries. With a total of twenty two songs in the film, it is only fair that contemporary songs have been juxtaposed alongside the selections from the four Kobials.
The dichotomy about the film’s originality played a huge role in creating controversies and helping the publicity at the same time. Is it a mulled remake? Is it a story of re-incarnation? Is it a musical biopic? So many questions have been asked over and over again, but the very fact that a wonderful blend of music forms the backbone of the film is unquestionable.
The film could never have been possible without the legendary Kabir Suman embedded in the very seed of the idea itself. It was 1996, when Srijit Mukherjee encountered Suman’s Jaatishwar’er gaan for the first time, and it continued to haunt him ever since, which in turn inspired him to write, while the emotions created the story.
"It has the technical brilliance of Baishe Srabon, the scale of Mishawr Rawhoshyo, the emotional connect of Hemlock Society, and the freshness of Autograph,” opined the director.
The intense character of Kushal Hazra (played by Prosenjit), brought out the inhibition-less actor out of the superstar, who lost a shocking eight kilograms of weight for serving the purpose. The change was unbelievable to an extent where even members of the film unit failed to recognize him!
The veteran actor, who has spent more than three decades without a National Film Award, was ready to jeopardise his bright chance at grabbing the award with ‘Jaatiswar’ as he decided not to dub the voice for both the roles he played to justify the film to a greater extent.
Fortunately, later on the authorities from the National Film Awards committee confirmed that Prosenjit will be eligible for nomination, if team ‘Jatiswar’ mentions the use of a different voice for the purpose of the film and the double role.
Alongside Prosenjit Chatterjee, Swastika Mukherjee and Jishu Sengupta, (who had nervously come back to work with ‘Jatiswar’ after a break of 14 months), the list of guest members including Abir Chatterjee, Rahul Banerjee, Riya Sen, Mamata Shankar, Srikanto Acharya, Anupam Roy, Rupam Islam, Sidhu, saki, Rupankar, Ananya Chatterjee, Kharaj Mukherjee, Kaushik Ghosh, Biswanath Basu, Biswajit Chakraborty among others, is a huge one; and is a notable sign of solidarity towards the Tollywood family.